Jackie Wright: Brace yourself for exercise
Grand Lake, CO Colorado
Every week we have a specific set of goals for our clientele to help them to achieve their short- and long-term fitness goals. Core training is a huge part of our programming and as a result, this week our focus has been on the concept of “bracing” the body.
The bracing concept has to do with effectively engaging the core muscles, creating a stable body position. This week, we will provide you with some excellent visualization skills, as well as practical physical skills, on how to incorporate the concept of bracing into your exercise program. You will be amazed, when you utilize bracing techniques regularly, how your stability will improve over time and that may in turn affect the safety of your workouts, your strength level, body control, kinesthetic awareness and overall performance. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Bracing Images/Visualization and Practical Skills
• Create an image of your core muscles, as the front/back/sides of your torso, from your breast bone to your pubic bone (i.e. 360 degrees around the torso). These muscles flex, extend, rotate, laterally flex and stabilize the torso/spine.
• Visualize your core as a corset or a binder, which when tightly laced, ideally maintains a compressed abdomen and a neutral, natural curvature of the lumbar spine.
• Once the core is effectively engaged, and you are sufficiently braced for the activity you will be performing, you should feel that your midsection (front/back/sides) is as solid as a fortress. This enables the arms/legs/hips to move through an appropriate range of motion, such as pushing and pulling, remaining stable throughout, avoiding unnecessary, extraneous motions that detract from the performance of the activity.
• Bracing may begin from the top of the head to the feet. So, for example, if you are standing erect, your head, neck and shoulders should feel and look as though they are a natural extension of your spine.
• Your shoulders should be rotated back and down as though you are placing them into your back pockets. This action should cause your chest to open and your scapula to retract creating tall posture.
• The rib cage should be pulled up and lifted off your waistline.
• Next, pull the navel toward your spine which begins engaging the core muscles, and this includes your pelvic floor muscles, without holding your breath.
• And, relax the knees so that the knee joint is extended, but not locked, while anchoring into the entire foot.
Two Bracing Applications
Stationary – Biceps Curls with dumbbells -when properly performed, the body should be braced, anchored and stationary, isolating the biceps muscles. The body should not lean or rock back in response to the curling action, nor should the arms swing from the shoulder or elbow joint in either direction. The only thing moving is from the elbow joint to the hand.
Dynamic -Alternating squats with lateral raises with dumbbells from a BOSU Balance Trainer – this is a full body, dynamic exercise, so there is a lot going on and the bracing technique enables you to move the hip, knee, ankle and shoulder joints, without losing your balance, stabilizing the body on the BOSU as you perform the squats and lateral raises.
– Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.
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